CLEVELAND — The Drug Enforcement Administration is issuing a warning about the alarming spike in fake prescription pills laced with fentanyl.
“Illicit fentanyl was responsible for nearly three quarters of the more than 93,000 fatal drug overdoses in the United States in 2020,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.
Hundreds of thousands of illegal pills have been confiscated from the streets in Northeast Ohio since agents first discovered the fake pills more than two years ago.
“We were seeing hundreds of those pills, then thousands, then tens of thousands then hundreds of thousands,” said DEA Detroit Division Special Agent in Charge, Keith Martin.
Cleveland DEA agents were part of a coordinated national effort on Tuesday targeting the fake pills and the people dealing the drugs.
“What is especially troubling with these pills is they are almost impossible to distinguish from legitimate prescription medications you would get from your doctor or pharmacists,” said Martin.
Among the seizures of drugs, a disturbing discovery even for the most seasoned agents.
“These fentanyl pills are being trafficked in Skittles bags. You have Halloween coming, it’s right around the corner. When you’re putting fentanyl in Skittles bags who goes for Skittles? Kids,” said Martin.
The fake pain killers are being purchased illegally on the streets. The DEA has launched the “One Pill Can Kill” initiative designed to educate Americans about the dangers buying drugs illegally.
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